"OK, This is Just Too Weird": Identifying Outreach Opportunites in Facebook
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"OK, This is Just Too Weird": Identifying Outreach Opportunites in Facebook

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The tremendous popularity of social networking sites like Facebook presents libraries with unique opportunities for reaching students. What many organizations fail to recognize, however, is that ...

The tremendous popularity of social networking sites like Facebook presents libraries with unique opportunities for reaching students. What many organizations fail to recognize, however, is that Facebook is perceived by its users as a primarily social space, and that the presence of professors, librarians, or parents can be intrusive, unwelcome, or just plain "weird" for the very students they're trying to reach. The George Washington University's Gelman Library decided to take a step back and ask a critical question: what do our students want? How do our students really use Facebook, and what part can the library play in this social environment? This presentation will offer an overview of this study and its findings in light of contemporary thinking and practices among librarians.

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"OK, This is Just Too Weird": Identifying Outreach Opportunites in Facebook Presentation Transcript

  • 1. “ OK, THIS IS JUST TOO WEIRD.” IDENTIFYING OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES IN FACEBOOK Elizabeth Edwards The George Washington University
  • 2. DISCLAIMERS
    • Healthy dose of skepticism.
    • Technically a millennial.
    • Contexts may vary.
  • 3. FACEBOOK
    • What is it?
    • Who uses it?
  • 4. FACEBOOK: WHAT IS IT?
    • A social networking site
    • A community of more than 90 million active users
    • A development platform
    • “ A social utility that connects you with the people around you.”
  • 5. FACEBOOK: WHO USES IT?
    • As of 2006, 55% of all teens who use social networking sites have used Facebook or Myspace, and 48% visit daily or more often.
    • “ The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years and older.”
  • 6. GW AND FACEBOOK
  • 7. OUR UNIVERSITY
  • 8. OUR LIBRARY
  • 9. OUR STUDENTS AND FACEBOOK
  • 10. THE LIBRARY AND FACEBOOK
    • Your
    • Librarian
    • Is
    • Your
    • Friend
  • 11. THE LIBRARY AND FACEBOOK
  • 12. CREATING THIS STUDY
  • 13. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
    • What role does technology play in our students' study habits?
    • What role does Facebook play in the lives of GW students?
    • How can the library use Facebook to connect with GW students?
  • 14. METHODOLOGY
    • Three phases:
      • Review of profiles and observation of student activity on Facebook
      • Survey of GW students
      • Semi-structured interviews with Facebook users
  • 15. SURVEY QUESTIONS
  • 16. SURVEY QUESTIONS
  • 17. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
    • How does Facebook as a recreational practice impact your study habits and academic life?
    • How would you feel if a librarian “friended” you? Under what circumstances would you feel comfortable “friending” a librarian or accepting a librarian’s friend request?
    • What sort of information would you expect/want to find on a librarian’s profile page (social or practical)?
  • 18. STUDENTS AND FACEBOOK
  • 19. STUDENTS AND FACEBOOK
  • 20. STUDENTS AND FACEBOOK
  • 21. STUDENTS AND FACEBOOK
  • 22. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
  • 23. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK How do you feel about university staff having Facebook profiles?
  • 24. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
    • “ Weird.”
  • 25. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
  • 26. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
    • “ Oh, well I would use that .”
  • 27. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
  • 28. LIBRARIANS AND FACEBOOK
    • “ Just please don't start Poking us kids.”
  • 29. RECOMMENDATIONS
  • 30. RECOMMENDATIONS
    • When developing a virtual presence, consider students’ actual perceptions of the library.
  • 31. RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Also consider how students view and interact with librarians in the real world.
  • 32. RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Provide resources, but don’t be surprised if students don’t use them.
  • 33. RECOMMENDATIONS
    • Recognize that Facebook may play a role in librarians’ lives too.
  • 34. THANK YOU Elizabeth Edwards [email_address]